News / USA

US Youth 'High 5' Fellow Girls in Developing Countries

American girls show solidarity with their less fortunate counterparts around the world

An American girl in Chicago, Illinois signs onto the 'Girl Up' campaign which helps less fortunate girls in other countries.
An American girl in Chicago, Illinois signs onto the 'Girl Up' campaign which helps less fortunate girls in other countries.

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Faiza Elmasry

Girls in the United States are more educated, socially connected and empowered than ever, but that is not the case for many of their counterparts in developing countries who still struggle to attend school, see a doctor or to cultivate meaningful roles in their communities.

However, a campaign for girls, by girls, is out to change that. Betsy Cribb was one of more than 300 girls who came to New York City to kick off the Girl Up Campaign.

'Girl Up'

"It's a for girls by girls campaign," she says. "It uses American girls' resources and energy to raise awareness for girls in the developing countries and really give them a voice because they don't have the opportunity to speak for themselves."

The campaign is sponsored by the United Nations Foundation, a charity that supports U.N. causes. Its spokeswoman, Elizabeth Gore, says Girl Up is off to an exciting start.

This girl in Ethiopia is among the young people worldwide that 'Girl Up' hopes to help.
This girl in Ethiopia is among the young people worldwide that 'Girl Up' hopes to help.

"I would describe it as walking into a room with the most passionate young girls from all economic backgrounds, all ethnic backgrounds, working together and really learning about girls globally, from Malawi to Ethiopia to Guatemala to Liberia," says Gore. "Not only did they really want to understand the statistics - like one in four girls unfortunately experience violence before they are 18 or one in seven girls are married in developing countries before the age of 15, and they were just so blown away by that - but they really wanted to know stories about these girls. They wanted to understand, are they like them? Do they like boys? Are they going to school?"

Spreading the word

Now, back at home, the girls who attended the kick off are spreading the word about the campaign. Cribb - a senior at a girls school in Charleston, South Carolina, is writing a blog and making presentations.

"What I plan to do is take the Girl Up Campaign to schools around Charleston and raise awareness and raise funds," Cribb says. "I'm actually speaking to my church youth group about the Girl Up campaign this Sunday. Then, I'm going to my former middle school to talk to them in a few weeks."

Girl Up also has global advocates like Queen Rania of Jordan and MTV executive Judy McGrath, along with celebrity supporters including fashion photographer Nigel Barker, teen actress Victoria Justice and singer-songwriter Crystal Bowersox.

"We want to lift the young women up and give them the resources they need to live productive, good lives," Bowersox says.

High five

As she travels around the country with the campaign, Bowersox talks about giving girls in developing countries a High Five. She's not talking about the hand-to-hand slap of greeting.

"What that is is to take five minutes to learn about the issues that are impacting these young women in these nations that we are focusing on," she explains. "Once you learn about these things and what these girls go through every day, you can share what you've learned with five friends. When those five friends tell five friends, the numbers can grow exponentially. Then if every one those people that you tell donates $5, it can provide school supplies for more than 100 girls in countries like Malawi. It can help provide for building supplies, to transform a one-room health clinic to a fully operating health center. Or it can put up a billboard in Malawi that will ask for the end of childhood marriage."

While the campaign is designed to benefit girls in developing countries, UNF's Elizabeth Gore says, it also helps American girls explore their potential and become leaders.

"I truly believe you don't have to be a head of state or a diplomat to be a global leader," she says. "Frankly, you can be a global leader at 13 years old. We have an advisory board of teen girls. There are 18 of them from all over the country. They are truly telling us how to run this campaign. And I believe because of them, we will succeed."

Gore says the Girl Up campaign is a chance for American girls to step up, save lives and bring about global change

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid